Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Critique of BoLS: Why it is holding you back.

Ah, yes, that title could be misconstrued. If you can read, then you will know this is a critique and not a hit piece to belittle the various authors that contribute to BoLS. It is not like that.

Before getting started, please just go and read a lot of different 40k sites on the Internet. Yes, there are more than you have enough time for. Yes, there are a bunch of excellent podcasts. My favorite stuff is all in the sidebar on the right, but I love visiting around even if it's just once to check out someone else's living room so to speak.

What did you notice from those sites?
Take a minute and think of at least three things.


What I noticed was that these blogs specialize and are close to their creators' hearts. BoLS predominantly has a bunch of mixed authors that import articles from their blogs. Ideas build up over time and develop. Ripping these articles out of their context in their home blogs make them appear shallow and incomplete because they are put in a new surrounding. Essentially, things are going to look out of place and disjointed when they are haphazardly put together without consideration to the overall picture. There is little to no discussion that carries over from one author's considerations to another- this means they are not developing ideas further and considering things from another perspective. The feedback loop maybe only runs through the comments if at all.

Which brings us to the next idea of  putting out unedited pieces. This has long been a complaint in the comment section that has fallen on deaf ears. Whether it is simple grammar errors or more important information screwed up or illegal tactics, there needs to be some sort of minimal peer review.

Another annoyance for readers is the scraping for content by some authors (This is the article?) and how many times the authors just lay it out for the comment section to put all of the thought into the article: The floor is yours generals...because we got nothin'!" Then there are the articles that are thinly veiled advertisements to sell armies. The site is also plastered with advertisements which puts clicks at a premium where "articles" essentially take you to their forums so you can click some more. The scheduled and controlled post release to ensure content is always there is not a problem in and of itself, rather it is that there is a back up to ensure that content will be continued if there are delays. However, information there lags behind other places. Their rumor posts were improved by bringing Natfka aboard; however, it's so much better to just go and visit his own site to get the information, comments and more.

Hobby articles are well liked in the comment section. Some of them are useful, yet others are questionable in aesthetic and bits needed to be used by what commenters have put forth. I have heard that Goatboy is tremendous in person, but his articles during 5th Edition were upsetting to a lot of people. His "counts as" armies were thought of mostly as unacceptable power codex jumping and incredibly full of spam. Thomas would spend time refining his lists for getting stuff packed into them instead of advancing in thought his lists like Stelek at YTTH is known for. Thomas has come around a lot in his writing of lists and the way he thinks about the game since the change to 6th Edition. I think he has a lot of growth potential to become an excellent 40k article writer.

BoLSCon is fine as their thing. However, that pushes aside a lot of coverage of other tournaments where the top players are performing their most refined tactics. It's narrowing the knowledge base. There is also a conflict of interest where they want to promote themselves as excellent winning gamers, yet if they want to stay that way, it doesn't benefit them to drop their most important tactical ideas onto the site to raise the level of competitiveness of the player base and thinking more deeply about what the game is about. Essentially, we should have players thinking about this game on higher levels.


  1. Thanks for this. I've been pondering why/what I felt was "off" about BoLS (and BloodOfKittens, to be honest) and I think you pretty well summed it up. The only one of these types of sites that I actually enjoy regular reading from is House of Paincakes. Something about Sinsynn's weirdness appeals to me.

  2. Timothy, you're more than welcome. I hesitated to write this considering how sensitive some people can be but it's not anything that really isn't in the comment section there anyways.